Knesset passes amendment on withdrawal referendum

JERUSALEM (JTA) – An amendment approved by the Knesset will advance a bill requiring a referendum on Israeli territorial withdrawal as part of any future peace deals.

The 68-22 vote Wednesday that passed the amendment came two days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Syria was ready to restart peace negotiations without first requiring Israeli agreement to a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

The referendum bill has passed its first reading in Knesset.

Government members from the Labor Party, which is part of Netanyahu’s governing coalition, split their vote on the amendment.

An Israeli law requires a referendum on any territory under Israeli control, including the Golan, but it requires that the Knesset pass legislation mandating how the referendum would be handled.

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